Coming soon

I have a new iMac on its way to me. I am one of those people who believes philosophically in starting a new electronic device as a tabula rasa, rather than just automatically transferring everything to it. However, that also gives me a *great* excuse for writing about what I’m using, why, and whether you (oh few readers) might care, and getting back into regular posts here, really, truly, honest.

(Also, in writing about this in less public spaces, I realised that it’s 28 years since I got my first computer – an Apple IIc, in 1984. That number is sort of scary.)

Things I intend to talk about: 

  • What devices I use for what (and why the iMac this time: my current home machine is a MacBook)
  • Software I use all the time, and why
  • Stuff I turn out not to use (and thoughts on why)
  • The huge question of cloud vs. not-cloud vs. storage vs. backup.
  • How this fits into libraries, and tech literacy and all sorts of other things.
  • (Do you have other topics? Tell me in comments or whatever other form of communication seems likely to work.)

In other news: (in no particular order)

  • I have a links post in draft, and expect to push it live sometime Thursday or maybe Friday.
  • I am doing a presentation at LibTech 2013 in St. Paul. LibTech is pretty much my Platonic ideal of a conference: they cap at 450 registrations, so you can actually talk to people, the presenters are people doing actual stuff with real info about what works and what fails, and I have reliably come away having learned a lot.  I already had plans to be in Minnesota that week for a visit, which is convenient.
  • My presentation is called Accio Data: Managing collaborative projects with free tools, and uses a Harry Potter transformative works project I am gleefully involved with as the case study, because we are managing all sorts of complicated data for that. (I’ll also be talking about the people part of collaborative work, especially at a distance.)
  • I also expect to be at Computers in Libraries in DC in April (that’s my official professional conference of the year). If you’re going to be at either that or LibTech (or know someone who is that I should talk to), please do tell me.

LibTech conference

I’ve just finished the first day of the LibTech2012 conference, an awesome small library technology conference in St. Paul, Minnesota. (And as someone whose hobbies periodically include running fan and community related conferences, it is also running pretty seamlessly from my POV.)

This means I have been madly dumping links in my “Hey, I should share these” files all day (or rather, more than I usually do), and thus it is a good week to reinstate the links post. Coming Friday! Or maybe Thursday night.

(I’ll also have some thoughts on the sessions I’ve been to, but that might take me another couple of days to distill from my notes – I’ve been notetaking on my iPad and a borrowed Logitech keyboard case. The latter is awesome, and solves all my problems with rapid typing on the iPad.)

Minnesota is not as gorgeous as Maine (Maine had a wetter winter, so our grass is not totally brown). But you can’t beat 70 and sunny in March for weather, really. And I’m having a lovely time visiting friends before and after the conference, too.

Hi, nice people!

Thanks to a couple of lovely people retweeting the index post for my job hunting retrospective, I have one of those awesome lines going skyward in my blog stats. (The actual numbers aren’t huge, but it’s still fun to see.)

Thanks for stopping by!

If you’d like to hang out, here’s some of my plans for the near future around here:

1) No later than this weekend, I will do the massive links of doom post that I’ve been saving links for since the beginning of July. And then do much better at posting them at least twice a month.

2) Resuming more regular blogging, by which I mean ‘at least once a week’ and ideally mean ‘more like twice a week’. We’ve just sorted out where I’m fitting into the blogging lineup at work, so I now have an idea of how different topics might split out.

3) I intend to continue blogging about technology (and especially how we can use it to make our lives richer, fuller, and more joyful), libraries, books, reading, and all sorts of other related topics. But if you’ve got things you think you’d like to see me discuss, I’m certainly glad to consider it.

Things I have learned recently:

  • My new job is in a library that has *seven* staircases, most of which don’t go to all floors, in an arrangement that my boss refers to as “Hogwartsian”. I’ve more or less figured them out now. Maybe. Anyway, I’ve decided I like the yellow one best.
  • Dreamweaver, as a program, has not changed as much from way back when I used to use it as I thought it might have. (Which is good: I got to make a bunch of edits on the library webpage today, and didn’t break anything.)
  • Imaging and ghosting computers is slightly less tedious when one has an iPhone and Kindle app handy. (There is a lot of rebooting involved in the process, which means you get these 2-3 minute gaps periodically in which you can’t actually do much.)
  • Documenting things while they’re still new in my head remains the most sensible way to do things.

A busy week!

I am delighted to say that I not only survived my first week at my Awesome New Job but have managed to both get useful things done and have been really enjoying it. So, here’s an update.


I’m adoring Maine so far. I’m living half a mile from work, I’ve figured my grocery store and other practical options, my bank account is finally fully accessible, and I handled a bunch of the other necessary details (like registering the car and getting a new license) before I started work. And of course, I acquired a public library card.

The weather has also been lovely – after a miserable July in Minnesota (including record-breaking heat and humidity) that made packing incredibly miserable, it’s been a joy to be somewhere where it’s topping out around 85F (sometimes very humid) and where it gets substantially cooler (lower 60s, upper 50s) overnight. My kind of weather.

I’m settling into the new apartment, as well, though I am still very light on furniture. (I have a futon, some very basic clothing storage, and a very comfy arm chair.) I’m enjoying the ‘figure out what will work in this space’ part, though there are moments when I’d like, y’know, bookshelves.


I’ve been enjoying getting to know all of the library staff (except for the couple currently on vacation, but I’m looking forward to getting to know them too.) Everyone’s been great about making me feel welcome, answering my questions, and explaining things.

I haven’t gone very far into looking at making social connections outside of work yet, but I have some ideas of where I’d like to start with that. (I wanted to give myself a few weeks to settle into my new work schedule – plus, several things of interest kick off once school is back for the fall.) Technology’s making it easy to stay in touch with friends in Minnesota. It’s nice when that works.


As of this afternoon, I have almost everything we need me to have (we’ve got one more set of software installations to work on…) to do my job. (Though parts of that took longer than we’d have liked.)

I’ve set up my work laptop the way I want it, read a bunch of internal documentation files about the library, learned the first part of creating images for the public computers and their classroom lab space (the rest of it, I’ll be learning on Monday.) And I’ve started exploring Flash. (Since a chunk of my job is “Be helpful when people have technology questions”, a part of my job description is “Learn how to do stuff on the software we have on computers in the library.”)

And I’ve helped with some technical support issues, and proposed a new project, and been in some productive and effectively run meetings.

I’ve been coming home tired, but very content, which is really excellent for week 1 of a new job.


Besides the obvious transition – moving 1500 miles across the country is obviously a big one – there have been lots of other things too. This is my first time combining a new job with a new place of work that wasn’t familiar to me since 2000 (so, 11 years).

(I’ve started other new jobs or roles since then, but not where I was figuring out all the “Where is this thing?” and “How do I get to there?” at the same time I was figuring out all the new job stuff – two different volunteer roles, and a short-term job for a librarian on leave at the school I did my graduate work at.

And the library building has *seven* staircases, most of which don’t go to all floors, so I keep having to figure out which staircase works for what I want. This was complicated this week by them getting waxed one at a time, so I kept going “Well, I could take that staircase, but I can’t today, so, um…”)

It’s also my first time bringing lunch to work in 11 years (since my previous job fed us lunch and had us supervise the cafeteria at the same time…) so that’s been an interesting thing to figure out what works for me. (I suspect I’ll eventually want a bit more variety, but for right now, I’ve figured out things that work while not taking a lot of prep time.)

Updates of other kinds:

I have tons and tons of links sitting in a bookmark folder for a links post, and hope to make that happen on Sunday. I also have plans for ongoing posting in various ways, but I’m still trying to figure out exactly what that might look like.

(If there are things you would particularly like me to talk about, I am open to suggestions, too, though chances are good that libraries and technology (and the mixture thereof) are going to be high on the list anyway.)

Wicked awesome news

I am delighted to tell all of you that I have accepted a job as the Information Technology Librarian at the University of Maine, Farmington. I start in early August.

(If you, like most people I have told this to, are now going “Where’s Farmington?” it’s about 90 minutes mostly north of Portland, Maine, in the central bit of the state before you get into the mountains and foothills of the west.)

The campus is about 2000 students, in a town of 7500, and focuses on liberal arts and education programs, which is right up my alley. The job is a combination of some shared library duties (reference, collection development, instruction), keeping the library computers up and running as the first line of support (though the IT folks are handy if needed), and then being responsible for finding, exploring, sharing, and advocating for interesting new technology for the library to use.

Pretty much everyone I’ve told that to has gone “Did they write the job description for you?” Which, no, but they might as well have, as it’s pretty much everything I was hoping for. I just got back from the interview trip last night (I was the last candidate they were seeing), and loved the library, the town, and the people I’ll be working with, and I’m really excited to see what happens next and how I get to be part of it.

While I’ll miss Minnesota (a state I’ve loved for the 12 years I’ve lived here), I’m delighted to be returning to New England. I’d been particularly looking for something outside the cities in northern New England, and I’m looking forward to living somewhere with a chance to garden, live in a small town (which I’ve been wanting for various reasons) and all the other awesome things on offer. And it’s hard to beat living somewhere that has three tourist-friendly seasons (summer is gorgeous, leaf-time is stunning, and snow means skiing and a bunch of other fun things.)

I have been horribly behind on plans for this blog due to several interview trips, but plan to have a links post up in the near future (I am aiming for Friday). I also anticipate some posts about organizing packing for a cross-country move. (Complicated in my case by a cat and a folk harp).

And then, once I start, lots of posts about nifty technology things. (I did my interview presentation on blogs and blogging, after all…) I definitely also plan to talk about some of my library job hunting strategies and what I think worked and didn’t work, in case they’re useful to anyone else.

And for those of you wondering about the title of this post: “Wicked” is a classic Maine term that was also popular in the Massachusetts of my teenage years, and is basically the positive intensifier of choice.

Quick note

I’m postponing today’s link roundup until Monday (or maybe Tuesday) for a couple of reasons.

I’m still working on the copyright videos page, which I’d like to include as a link, but more than that, this week and next both have some particular schedule complications: I’m chairing a weekend conference within my religious community next weekend, and it’s (unsurprisingly) taking time to deal with last minute details.

I’m also going to be there all day next Friday, so won’t be able to do a post next week. Doing one on Monday or Tuesday spreads things out a bit more, so seems like the best solution all round. See you back here then!

Quick note

I did something odd to the theme I’d prefer and realised it while travelling (for an interview). I hope to have a fix up in the next few days, but in the meantime, have an alternate theme, and please excuse any oddities you might notice (I think the things I haven’t fixed are all content from other sites – my Delicious and GoodReads sidebar widgets, for example.)


Pardon the dust: I’m settling into a new home after shifting my work-related blog from . Moving the blog to its own domain gives me a lot more flexibility for geeky behind-the-scenes tinkering. (I’ve hosted other projects on my own webspace – or at least non-commercial webspace – since 1995, but they’ve all been personal projects not directly connected to my life as a librarian).

I’ll be picking up on some topics from the previous address in the coming days (especially the ‘how I use tech’ series), but in the meantime, expect some book commentary in the next day or two.

Hi, I’m Jen

Librarian, infovore, and general geek, likely to write comments about books, link collections, and other thoughts related to how we find, use, and take joy in information.

I'm the Research Librarian at the Perkins School for the Blind

More about my job and a day in the life

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